The common cold is just annoying, and the annual flu season is even more so -- and can actually be deadly. The minor annoyances of allergies, headaches and stuffy noses seems like something we should be able to conquer. (Maybe if we just could all live in hermetically sealed bubbles until no one had a cold
anymore?) If you're not looking forward to flu season (or kids sharing germs now that they're back in school), perhaps some of these links might lead to a remedy some day.
- Farm dust might be triggering an immune response in kids that protects them from developing allergies and asthma. Children raised on farms have a significantly lower rate of having allergies or asthma compared to kids growing up in more urban environments, and scientists have seen that farm dust exposure to mice can prevent induced allergic reactions. So... when are parents going to start buying artisanal farm dust for their kids? (Some parents are already organizing farm-located daycares.) [url]
- A brother and sister (but not their middle sibling) have a rare genetic mutation that makes them immune to many kinds of viral infections such as influenza, herpes, dengue fever, hepatitis C and HIV. Unfortunately, their mutation also seems to cause various developmental delays, fragile bones and an otherwise weakened immune system. However, since this mutation affects glycosylation, it doesn't prevent the common cold, either. But studying this disorder could lead to treatments, as well as other approaches for normal immune systems to avoid viral infections. [url]
- Helminthic therapy uses worms to treat autoimmune diseases, and it sounds really gross. Some people are so fed up with their allergies that they'll try anything -- including letting a few parasitic worms into their body. It seems to work for some people anecdotally, but clinical trials so far have had mixed results that don't point to a clearly recommended treatment. Sorry, allergy sufferers. [url]
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